Jesús Rafael Soto - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Estudio 1, Caracas
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Caracas, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Jesús Soto, 1983
    Long Beach, Museum of Latin American Art, Soto: The Universality of the Immaterial, 20 November 2005- 9 August 2006
    New York, Pinta Art Fair, Homage to Soto, 19 - 22 November 2009

  • Literature

    G.G. Lemaire, Soto: La différence, Paris: Éditions de la Différence, 1997, p. 309

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I don’t see art as a free invention, but as the intellectual development of man in history.” – Jesús Rafael Soto quoted in: A. Jiménez, Conversations with Jesús Soto, Caracas: Fundación Cisneros, 2005, p. 179. Bilingual edition.

    Jesús Rafael Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar— a small, provincial town in the Venezuelan countryside. Far from the European cafés where Cubism first introduced the easel to a fourth dimension, and even farther from the Soviet Constructivist’s heated colloquiums on material and form, Soto learned to draw by copying magazines from Chile and Spain. After a friend showed him how to use the stump, he began experimenting with the infinite promises of shadow and light, which had enraptured artists for centuries. After winning a scholarship to study visual arts in Caracas, he embarked on a profoundly intellectual challenge to expand the reaches of art history. Throughout his life, he remained interested in learning about the art that was already created, looking to build on the discoveries of his forbearers as he explored on his own.

    As an art student in Caracas, Soto first thought he would specialize in naturalist painting, following the example of the celebrated Venezuelan historical painters of the early 20th century. Everything changed when he saw a still life by Georges Braque, and the impact was such that Soto spent the rest of his life thinking about space—learning how to study it, how to use it, and how to make it his ultimate subject. Decades later, as a seasoned observer and contributor to the international art world, Soto said:

    “The important thing is to show that space is fluid and full, because it has always been considered—as in the Renaissance—a place where things can be put, more than a primal universal value… I discussed this a lot with Yves Klein, because for him what was most important was the void… but I insisted that for me what was important was the density of space, its fullness” (quoted in A. Jiménez, Conversations with Jesús Soto, Caracas: Fundación Cisneros, 2005, p. 179. Bilingual edition).

    Virtual Cube Blue and Black emerged from this type of thought. The collective density of the thin aluminum rods envelops the eye from within the space, testing the boundaries of perception and spatial interaction. The space is full, almost impenetrable, but the uniformity of the rods and the interplay of the colors make it seem mobile, almost fluid. Many of his contemporaries were interested in this as well—in creating multiplicity and perceptive discrepancy out of material and chromatic consistency. Building on the work of the Cubists who had begun to chip away at the Renaissance’s dogma of depth through pictorial illusion, Soto found a way for art to exist in space and collaborate with it, rather than to simply represent it.

  • Artist Biography

    Jesús Rafael Soto

    Venezuelan • 1923 - 2005

    Jesús Rafael Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar and studied at the School of Visual and Applied Arts in Caracas. During this period he became acquainted with Los Disidentes, a group of artists that included Alejandro Otero and Carlos Cruz-Diez. In addition to his fellow compatriots, Soto’'s work was influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian.

    The main artistic tenets evinced in Soto's works are pure abstraction, vibrations, progressions and geometric rigor. They can be seen through the use of lines and superimposed squares in his sculptures, made with paint and a series of industrial and synthetic materials. He spent much time in Europe, becoming a key member of the Group Zero movement, which included such artists as Lucio Fontana, Gunther Uecker and Yves Klein. As a result, Soto's work also incorporates modernist concepts such as light, time, movement, color manipulation and space. All of these facets place him as an important figure within the Kinetic and Op Art movements.

    View More Works

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit The Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts VENEZUELAN


Cubo virtual azul y negro (Virtual Cube Blue and Black)

Aluminum and nylon.
78 3/4 x 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in. (200 x 200 x 200 cm).

$600,000 - 800,000 

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York